A good ground model of the study area is critical to the successful design of any structure or mining project. The development of a ground model should always start with the geological mapping platform, which can inform both invasive (e.g. drilling) and non-invasive (e.g. geophysics) data collection. The development of a ground model using this approach is pretty standard, but can get complicated, and expensive, in remote environments.
Field work remoteness adds complexity to health and safety, logistics, communication, and resources, all of which can add significantly to the project schedule and budget. This can often lead to sharing of equipment for applications outside of normal use, for example using resource drill rigs to carry out shallow geotechnical drilling and testing. Exploration drilling crews experienced in deep resource drilling can find themselves carrying out geotechnical field tests and installing instrumentation in an attempt to manage costly task-specific drilling equipment and resources. Field staff also need to be converse with a broad range of field techniques to cover all aspects of the field campaign.
This paper expands on lessons learned from such scope-sharing field drilling programmes in remote locations, which do not always deliver on the schedule and cost saving intentions anticipated at the project outset.
Rynhoud, M.S. 2017. “Drilling for Studies in Remote Locations,” in Drilling for Geology II. AIG (Australian Institute of Geoscientists) Conference, July 26-28, 2017. Brisbane, Australia.